Productivity, Technology, and Demographics

By IMFBlog

May 5, 2017

Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, says that if technology cannot boost productivity, then we are in real trouble.

In a podcast interview, Varian says thirty years from now, the global labor force will look very different, as working age populations in many countries, especially in advanced economies, start to shrink. While some workers today worry they will lose their jobs because of technology, economists are wondering if it will boost productivity enough to compensate for the shifting demographics—the so-called productivity paradox.

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Today’s Information is Ammunition for Tomorrow

Many Latin American economies are booming due to strong capital inflows and high commodity export prices. Though favorable today, booms can also be a double-edged sword. Risks that emerge, if excessive or poorly managed, can sow the seeds of future problems. Effective macroeconomic policy management and implementation is needed to avoid boom-bust cycles with which Latin America is all too familiar. But, for that, information is an essential ingredient. Countries in Latin America have made good progress in strengthening statistics, but this blog posts identifies three key areas that are particularly relevant for monitoring the accumulation of risks and potential overheating where more action is needed.

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